A report from the University of California, Berkeley, reaffirmed research recently released by the state Air Resources Board: Strong energy policies will become a key driver for improving job creation, household incomes and the Gross State Product.

Energy efficiency measures have already helped the state cut energy independence and boost productivity compared to 30 years ago, according to "Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Job Creation in California." Nonprofit Next 10 funded the research authored by Professor Roland-Holst.

"At this pivotal moment in history, as global markets teeter on the financial edge, our study reveals the economic power of energy innovation and efficiency, and the promise for California if the state redoubles its efforts as proposed in the Draft Scoping Plan to implement the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32)," Roland-Holst said in a statement this week.

AB 32 calls for the state reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. By going forward with AB 32, the state will gain more than 400,000 new jobs, much higher than the forecast of 100,000 additional positions predicted by the state Air Resources Board. California also will grow its gross state product by roughly $76 billion and increase household incomes by as much as $48 billion.

Both studies used identical modeling, although the state's analysis assumed a flat rate of energy efficiency and static technology characteristics. The U.C. Berkeley-Next 10 study includes the potential for innovation to reduce energy intensity. 

To understand the impact of the aggressive legislation, the report turns to policies from the last 35 years. The state would have a harder time weathering the current economic crisis if hadn't put the efficiency rules in place decades ago, the report found.

It also found the state reduced per capita energy needs to 40 percent below the national average. Efficiency measures created 1.5 million jobs and saved households $56 billion between 1972 and 2006. Energy-related supply chains slowed but 50 new jobs were created elsewhere in the economy for every one lost in the energy sector.

By going forward with AB 32, the state will gain more than 400,000 new jobs, much higher than the forecast of 100,000 more positions predicted by the state Air Resources Board. California also will grow its gross state product by roughly $76 billion and increase household incomes by as much as $48 billion.